Mental abuse, sometimes known as emotional or psychological abuse, causes nursing home residents to suffer psychological harm. Often, mental abuse is verbal although it can be non-verbal as well. This type of abuse does not cause the serious injuries and physical scarring of physical abuse or neglect, but it can leave aging seniors with emotional scars, strip them of their dignity, and severely impact their quality of life.
Types of Mental Abuse in Nursing Homes
Emotional abuse often occurs in conjunction with physical or sexual abuse, with abusers using threats or intimidation to keep the abuse under wraps. This can be especially damaging to a senior who feels trapped and victimized by their abuser. Even when mental abuse occurs on its own, it can leave the resident depressed and traumatized.
Some types of mental abuse that occur in nursing homes include:
- Intimidation or threats
- Ridiculing, insulting, and bullying
- Making residents feel guilty for needing assistance or care
- Shouting at residents
- Giving residents the “cold shoulder,” ignoring them
- Isolating residents from one another, or friends and family
- Not allowing residents to participate in facility activities
- Threatening to withhold food, water, medicine, or necessary care
Seniors tend to react in one of two ways to this type of abuse. Most commonly, you may notice signs of depression in your loved one. They may withdraw from people and things they previously enjoyed and be timider than they already were. In other cases, the senior may be more agitated than usual and become aggressive with you and other caregivers.
Lasting Effects of Mental Abuse on Nursing Home Residents
Seniors who experience psychological abuse may suffer lasting effects. This could include depression, anxiety, and other emotional concerns. The senior may need therapy or other treatment for their depression to help them recover.
Any abuse increases the stress in the senior’s life which can also contribute to some physical health concerns. This includes lowering the immune system, allowing for opportunistic infections.
You Can Seek Justice for Your Loved One After a Mental Abuse Incident
If your aging loved one was the victim of mental abuse, you may be eligible to pursue justice by holding the abuser and the nursing home liable in an out-of-court settlement or a civil lawsuit.
You may be able to recover compensation for the damages your loved one suffered, including:
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Psychological therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Call 1-800-516-4783 today for a free case evaluation and to discuss your options with an attorney who can help. Nursing home abuse lawyers understand that you want to hold the abuser and those who allowed the abuse to occur responsible for their actions. Let them help you pursue justice and compensation for your aging loved one.
« Return to the glossary term listing